Friday, June 24, 2011

Bocelli at the Feast of St. Anthony, Patron of the Custody

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It was in 1920: Pope Benedict XV chose Anthony of Padua as the patron saint and protector of the Custody of the Holy Land. This eminent Fransiscan friar is commemorated on June 13th, a day on which Franciscans in Jerusalem have good reason to rejoice.And so they gathered in St Saviour’s Church for a solemn Mass, in the company of the blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Despite some fatigue, following his participation in a concert at Masada the night before, he enchanted the congregation is singing the Panis Angelicus and Ave Maria by Schubert.Andrea Bocelli (live recording)In his homily, the Custos spoke of the Saint Anthony, and of the steps that we needed to take in a journey of faith. These involvesd prayer and wisdom emanating from a relationship with God, and finally the gift of the Spirit, the only means of preventing a loss for zest for life, and a gift that even enhances the character of life. These were the steps that were taken by St Anthony – Father Pizzaballa said – and these are the ones we must take ourselves. Friar Pierbattista Pizzaballa,Custos of the Holy LandToday we not only celebrate the feast of St Anthony, but learn from his life ... that we are called – even we – to live with sagacity and wisdom in all that the Lord has given us – to live life with passion, enthusiasm without fear of anything – even here in the Holy Land. Following the celebration, the Franciscan community, with Andrea Bocelli and the Italian Consul, Signor Pezotti, luched in the refectory of St Saviour’s Convent. There they continued to acclaim the saint who protects and guides, together with Saint Francis, the daily mission of the friars in the Holy Land.

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